Photo Essays Archive

Long Ago Citizens

Cape Town’s urban formations are both settled and constantly shifting. Take Windermere, which, like District Six, would be reconfigured by the apartheid bulldozer. Bryan Heseltine (b.1923, Addo, SA – d. 2008, UK) started making photos in Windermere in the late 1940s. He was particularly interested in Windermere’s black population, who lived in shack settlements between […]

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There and back again

India’s congested public roads refuse hurry. Still, in a society where politeness is key, the country’s slow-moving trucks do make some concessions to haste. Many feature the words “Horn Please” or “Blow Horn” prominently painted in elaborate colours on their rear: it is an invitation to speedy motorists to alert the driver. Los Angeles-based Dan Eckstein […]

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Found, not lost

Edson Chagas, a photography graduate of the University of Wales in Newport, has been thrust into the limelight after his oblique photographs of contemporary Luanda secured Angola, a first-time exhibitor at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the prestigious Golden Lion award for best national pavilion at the Italian art event. Like the American Lewis Baltz before him, […]

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Kavina (left) is a fifty-year-old grandmother who works as a maid. She came to Kenya as a refugee from Uganda; her entire family was killed during the Idi Amin regime. Florence, also a maid, is forty-seven years old and comes from Kakamega, in western Kenya.

The workers time forgot

Madagascar-born photographer Guillaume Bonn’s recent photo-essay, Silent Lives. Bonn, a politics and economics graduate of Montreal University who grew up in Nairobi, chose instead to document the working lives of the “house girls”, chauffeurs and night watchmen employed by Kenya’s black, white and Asian upper-class elite. His observant eye singles out ritual and dress; not […]

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Avenue Badjoko

The Body in Space

Started in 2008, Lard Buurman’s African City Project aims to surface the quotidian details of African urbanism, in particular the pronounced relationship between city dwellers and the public spaces they use and inhabit. “I want to give an impression of daily life in the African city,” says Amsterdam-based Buurman. “From the chaotic dusty centre of […]

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An aerial view of Kowloon Walled City

Hong Kong Circa 1990

We feature a selection of Greg Girard and Ian Lamboth’s work on Kowloon World City, a city-block-sized enclave located across the harbour from the Island of Hong Kong, then a British-controlled territory which developed into a cramped tenement slum made up of 300 interconnected high-rise buildings, all built without the contribution of a single architect. The […]

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Far East Bank, Extension 1, Alexandra, Johannesburg, 2009

Laurence Bonvin: The Suburbs of Eldorado

“Photographing in and around Johannesburg has been an exciting and intense experience for me,” says Laurence Bonvin, the Swiss-born photographer whose work autopsies contemporary urbanism in spare tones and with an inquisitive criticality. Bonvin, who studied photography in the southern French city of Arles, and lives between Geneva and Berlin, has over the past decade […]

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Palm Hills Village in New Cairo comprises 26 acres of residential apartments and a three-storey mall with a retractable roof. The development is targeted at students from the American University in Cairo, which relocated to the urban edge after 90 years in central Cairo

Jason Larkin: Cairo Divided

Most capitals are magnets, says British-born Jason Larkin, who moved to Cairo after completing his studies in photography in 2007. The speed with which Cairo has grown in the last century—from 600,000 in 1900 to around 18 million—is, however, testament to both its remarkable centripetal power and surrounding vacuum of opportunity. Africa’s largest urban metropolitan […]

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Market at Odun Ade bus stop, Lagos, Nigeria, 2009

Julian Röder: State of Flux

Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and a magnet for all of West Africa because of its oil wealth. Over ten million people live here, and more keep coming. Although the city is growing, there is no place for it to expand further because Lagos is situated on two narrow strips of land that […]

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Major Adolph Dalaney works in the Reconstruction Room of the Traffic Police at the Liberia National Police Headquarters in Monrovia, capital city of Liberia. 2006.

Jan Banning | Sitting, working, behind a desk

The bureaucrat, that cryptic figure of modern life also known as a civil servant or public official, is a common feature of world literature. He, for he is typically male in Tsarist Russia, appears at the centre of Nikolai Gogol’s proto-modern fictions, most memorably in The Overcoat (1842), a short story about “a certain civil […]

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